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August 2016

Fractals of Change: Why a Great Programmer is Worth Fifty Good Ones

Fractals of Change: Why a Great Programmer is Worth Fifty Good Ones:

If you’ve ever had a superstar working for you, you’re probably used to leaving him or her behind in the office when you go home – if you’re the CEO of a startup you don’t go home that early – and finding him or her in the office when you arrive.  If it’s a him, the stubble’s a giveaway; women cover up a little better.  A superstar prefers to work in at least twenty-four if not forty-eight or even seventy-two hour spurts.

Again, it’s the interfaces: it’s very expensive to put something down, go home, sleep, wake-up, and then recover all the loose ends. The first half of writing a program creates almost all loose ends; the second half is tying them back up.  Like surgery. If a programmer has the skill and physical stamina for marathon gulps of creativity, then there are many fewer times when the non-productive work of putting stuff away neatly (mentally) and picking it up again has to happen.  For similar reasons, one-person debugging is best done when you can crawl inside the code and stay there until you’re done.

Now, unfortunately, this kind of endurance is a young person’s game.

Héctor García – Programmer in the flow, https://flic.kr/p/nYmeCZ